Mt Albert – a friendly by-election

Written By: - Date published: 8:56 am, January 23rd, 2017 - 61 comments
Categories: by-election, greens, labour - Tags: , , ,

Campaigning is underway in Mt Albert. Looks like it will be a very different kind of by election:

Labour and Greens gear up for Mt Albert by-election

The Mt Albert by-election campaign will be a chance for Labour and the Greens to show they can work together, says Labour’s candidate for the seat, Jacinda Ardern.

While National has decided not to put up a candidate, the Green Party’s transport spokesperson, Julie Anne Genter, will contest the seat.

Ms Ardern said she wasn’t disappointed by that decision.

She said the campaign would be a chance to show voters how the relationship between Labour and the Greens could work in future.

“We [Ms Genter and I] talked about the fact that we want to use this as an opportunity to model the kind of relationship we’ll have in government.

“There’ll be differences that people will see out on the campaign trail, but we’ll be focusing on our own policies, our own ideas, but also modelling a great relationship.”

All the best to both candidates.

61 comments on “Mt Albert – a friendly by-election”

    • Carolyn_nth 1.1

      Bomber has had little to say that is good about the Greens for a long time.

      Still, he’s entitled to his opinion.

      Me, I will just wait and see how it plays out.

    • James 1.2

      Which means its probably a good move for them.

    • Macro 1.3

      Bomber has about as much political nous as a can of fish.
      “Moment of Truth”
      Internet-Mana
      etc.
      Not saying his heart is in the wrong place, or anything like that. Just that when it comes to political campaigns – he would be the last cab of the rank.

  1. Tamati Tautuhi 2

    National are obviously not very confident about their current situation at present and did not want another embarassment like Mt Roskill in Mt Albert

    • Enough is Enough 2.1

      I think quite the opposite.

      They are very confident in the knowledge of the outcome so why waste resource on a campaign that they have absolutely no chance of winning?

      • Leftie 2.1.1

        I reckon Tamati is right Enough is Enough. National is well funded, and didn’t National get more party votes in 2014? so why not put up a candidate? Judging by Northland and the Roskill by elections, could it be that National don’t have a good enough candidate to put up and so National doesn’t want to risk another resounding defeat in election year?

    • Leftie 2.2

      Exactly right Tamati Tautuhi. Especially in election year.

  2. Nick 3

    They are both good candidates….

  3. I am really looking forward to seeing what an election campaign is like with two smart candidates cooperating rather than sniping.

  4. Carolyn_nth 5

    For what it’s worth, Russell Brown reviews the launch, praises a new cooler looking Little personal presentation, and respectfully disagrees with some other (unnamed) commentators:

    Certain other commentators have declared that the Greens’ decision to stand Julie Anne Genter in Mt Albert is a disaster. It really is not. It’s a perfect opportunity for both parties to show that they can engage in a respectful contest of ideas within an overall understanding of cooperation.

    It might have been otherwise with different candidates, but Ardern and Genter are grown-ups. They like each personally. They have things in common – while Ardern was speaking at the Women’s March in Auckland on Saturday, Genter was addressing its sister rally in Wellington. (They both also have informed perspectives on drug policy – the difference being that while Genter can actually talk about policy, Ardern is confined to wearily acknowledging that any reform is “not a priority” for her party this year.)

    Drug policy is a particular interest of Pt Chev resident, Brown.

  5. Sabine 6

    it is a smart move. Both Candidates are excellent, both have all the possibility to promote their parties and themselves and at the End of it, pretty much guaranteed one of them will win. 🙂

  6. Penny Bright 7

    Housing is a BIG Auckland issue.

    Where do current Labour and Green MPs Jacinda Adern and Julie Anne Genter stand, and what are they doing regarding this brave stand by a directly-affected ‘State’ tenant against the privatisation of State housing?

    Who is right now – refusing to be evicted?

    With significant public support?

    To date, I for one, have heard or seen nothing from either or their parties, regarding this matter?

    (Apologies if I have missed any press releases or the like).

    FYI

    ______________________________

    URGENT!

    I’ll be there.

    Who else can come and ‘sit’ in solidarity with Niki Rauti against the privatisation of State housing and ‘democracy for developer$’?

    SIT-IN OCCUPATION!

    Continuing to support brave Niki, making a stand against the privatisation of State housing for private property developer$.

    KIA KAHA Niki!

    WITHDRAW NIKI’S EVICTION NOTICE!

    WHEN: Tuesday 25 January 2017.
    TIME: From 9am.
    WHERE: 14 Taniwha St, Glen Innes.

    Penny Bright

    ‘Anti-privatisation / anti-corruption campaigner’.

    2017 Independent candidate
    Mt Albert by-election.

    • Bob 7.1

      “Who is right now – refusing to be evicted?”
      You probably shouldn’t be reminding people that they are having to pay extra rates to cover your refusal to take part in our democratic society, Penny. Not a great vote winner.

    • Nick 7.2

      Tuesday 24th January or Wednesday 25th January ??

  7. Ad 8

    Looking forward to having them both in government, working together in coalition.

  8. Tamati Tautuhi 9

    Good way to promote their profiles and policies for the 2017 Election

  9. swordfish 10

    Having made an initial comment on the matter here on The Standard back in late December, I’ve been developing a post for my Blog with the working title: Mt Albert Mousetrap (critiquing the Greens decision to stand in Mt Albert and highlighting the potential implications)

    But unfortunately most (though not quite all) of my argument has been anticipated by Chris Trotter and Bomber Bradbury over the last few days. (see Paul’s links above) … although they’ve taken a more alarmist position than I was planning.

    So, instead of finishing the post, I’ll just set out a rough idea of my argument here. (in 2 separate comments)

    ___________________________________________________________________

    Starts from the premise that – having largely avoided critical media scrutiny of their almost unprecedented decision to wait out the up-coming Mt Albert By-Election – National now finds itself in a potentially advantageous position.

    Although nothing’s cast in stone, the Greens decision to stand a candidate (current List MP, Julie Anne Genter), provides National strategists with the perfect opportunity to consolidate their negative framing of the Opposition parties’ potential to form a stable and cohesive future Government.

    Hence, while I can understand the basis for the Greens decision (Mt Albert is, after all, one of their Party-Vote strongholds), in aiming to win a relatively inconsequential battle for their own Party, they may be in danger of losing the War for the wider Left.

    Why ?. Let’s start with the broader context:

    National’s long-term framing involves an interplay of closely related assertions:

    (1) The Opposition parties are hopelessly divided (as successfully portrayed by National at the last Election). The MOU was, of course, in part designed to undermine that strategy.

    (2) Despite this bitter in-fighting between Opposition parties, Labour – given its poor polling – will need both the Greens and NZF in any future Left-leaning Government.

    (3) Indeed, the Greens have every chance of overtaking Labour in Party-Vote support at the next General Election, thus superseding the latter as the major Party in any Government of the Centre-Left. (see Farrar’s frequent attempts to seize on any evidence – no matter how tenuous – to suggest this highly unlikely event)

    (4) The Greens are “extremist”, naïve and “toxic” to the average voter.

    (5) Despite the fact that Labour and the Greens will need NZF to form a Government, Winston Peters has categorically ruled out working with this “extremist” Green Party in any future governing arrangement.

    Put it all together and you have National and its highly influential on-line propagandists painting a vivid picture of chaos, dissension and stalemate.

    (Sidenote: Which isn’t to deny a certain degree of discontinuity, incoherence and contradiction in some of National’s framing. (they’d probably call it “flexibility”). Read back through Kiwiblog, for instance, and you’ll notice that, just occasionally, Farrar departs from the broadly defined script, offering tantalising glimpses of the kind of alternative narratives they might choose if circumstances dictate ………. In the immediate wake of the MOU, for instance, Farrar briefly downplayed the divisions meme and replaced it with an emphasis on the Greens capturing Labour and moving it to the extremist Left ………. or, during debates over whether or not the Greens were moving in a National-friendly direction (for example, after Shaw’s leadership victory), Farrar has fleetingly toyed with the idea of dropping the Greens are Nutters meme and instead emphasising their rationality, comparing Genter, for instance, more than favourably with Labour’s Robertson or highlighting the new Blue-Green CDU-Green State Govt in Baden-Württemberg ………. At the moment, though, the interplay of propositions enumerated above constitute the dominant narrative)

    Implications

    (1) During the Campaign

    The absence of a National candidate, a media craving conflict and the basic logic of electoral competition will almost inevitably shine a spotlight on intra-Left division as Labour and the Greens go head to head.

    In a high stakes competition – Labour’s election year momentum, Ardern’s career, the cohesion of an alternative Left Government, possibly even Little’s career – it seems more likely than not that – no matter how determined they are to remain co-operative, respectful and collegial – the stark realities of electoral combat between Labour and Greens will be impossible to disguise, perhaps even glaring.

    Like I say – nothing’s cast in stone – but it’s at least potentially easy, then, for National, its on-line propagandists and, ultimately, the MSM to consolidate the picture of chaos and dissension in any future Labour-led Government.

    (2) After the Result

    I’ll set out in my second comment the rationale for believing that the Greens have the potential to slash – or at least make fairly significant inroads into – Labour’s majority.

    But, for the moment, let’s assume that that’s precisely what happens – Genter slashes the Labour majority from 10,000 to, say, 2000 (even taking into account the anticipated much lower turnout, this would still be portrayed as a poor performance for Labour)

    Most obviously, Labour would be crucified in the mainstream media. Portrayed as deeply unpopular – hence a lost cause / “the phone’s off the hook” – in the run-up to the Election. Something along the lines of : Labour’s majority slashed in third safest seat !!! Clearly voters are rejecting them in Election year. (Farrar has already loudly proclaimed Mt Albert as one of “Labour’s” safest (in reality, it’s a Shearer stronghold, not a Labour one. Labour received just 29% of the Party-Vote at the last Election, placing it just slightly above average. In other words … It’s only their 3rd safest seat in terms of the Candidate Vote).

    Rising star, Ardern, takes a career-hit.

    Little comes under intense pressure.

    Also handily plays into the meme that the “extremist” Greens might well supersede Labour as the most popular Party of the Left.

    And that we all know what Winston would think of that – hence a Govt composed of the current Opposition parties would be utterly chaotic, if not outright impossible !

    _________________________________________________________________________________

    Nothing’s inevitable, of course. And I don’t want to sound too negative here. Maybe the two parties of the Left will, indeed, manage to pull off something of a Public Relations coup and it’ll all go swimmingly – but it does seem like a pointless risk to be taking in Election year. Potentially, at least, a remarkable own goal. The Greens really needed to consider the wider game.

    (If I have time today, I’ll post a second comment setting out why the Greens have the potential to slash Labour’s majority. If not, I’ll post it tomorrow. Luckily for me, Chris and Bomber haven’t entirely anticipated my argument, so I have one or two critical things to say about the strategic voting dynamics involved. And, while I agree with a good deal of their argumentation, I think they’re being a bit too alarmist over the possibility of Genter actually winning. I don’t believe that’s likely at all).

    • Ad 10.1

      Would any of the small remaining undecided voters give a damn if the Greens really did leap 17 points and overtake Labour as preferred party? No.

      Is there a pikelet’s chance in Ophir that Jacinda Ardern will lose? No.

      Even worse, if it really did happen, like Northland’s by-election, nothing would happen. The MSM and the rest of the political planet swallowed well, and kept going.

      • swordfish 10.1.1

        “Would any of the small remaining undecided voters give a damn if the Greens really did leap 17 points and overtake Labour as preferred party? No.”

        Bizarre thing to say. (1) We have no idea of the consequences of any Nat scare campaign (and I’m talking about one that flows from a putative Mt Albert By-Election result where Genter slashes Labour’s majority – not from some outrageously unlikely leap in the polls for the Greens, (2) Why “small” ??? The 2014 NZES figures suggest just 35% of all voters (and 40% of Nats) had made their voting decision before Election year.

        “Is there a pikelet’s chance in Ophir that Jacinda Ardern will lose? No.”

        Hence, my last sentence (immediately above your comment): “I think they’re being a bit too alarmist over the possibility of Genter actually winning. I don’t believe that’s likely at all”. Weren’t wearing your prescription specs ?

        More importantly, you utterly miss the point.

        (1) Media emphasising division between Labour and the Greens – thus playing into National’s long-term framing (unless the parties of the Left play things remarkably well)

        (2) Reasonable possibility of Genter slashing Labour majority = Labour’s General Election chances written off by mainstream media / at the very least – serious loss of momentum.

        (3) All of it an unnecessary risk

        • Ad 10.1.1.1

          We would have seen any ‘scare campaign’ by now. English has made it clear it’s a nothing. The people that have made up their minds who to vote for have been tracking pretty consistently in the polls for quite a while now – looks like most of them.

          If a “long term framing” was going to work as you say, we would have seen it working already. The reverse is true. The Labour-Greens compact is settled and the great freakout didn’t occur. Perfectly understandable if you’ve forgotten what success feels like. Many have.

          Of course it’s poor management by Shearer to leave before April – unlike Cunliffe who deliberately held off in New Lynn to precisely avoid this kind of dumb by-election. But then, what you see as risk, clearly Genter and Ardern view as opportunity. Which is sensible.

          But anyway, you don’t want to sound alarmist. Or negative. Or something.

          • In Vino 10.1.1.1.1

            Not convincing, Ad. It will be some time before we see reactions from Blinglish and others – they will become evident only as they get revealed during the campaign.

            • Ad 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Really?

              The Mt Albert campaign’s already started, and English is very clear he doesn’t give a shit. He gives a shit so little he’s not standing a candidate. He’s already at Ratana, doing the warm up for Waitangi Day his way.

              Bill English doesn’t give a monkey’s about Labour, and on current polling doesn’t need to.

              As for the Greens sweeping all before them or swathing through Labour’s sward, well I present to you Julie Ann Genter. She has had zero traction in the public over nine years, apart from a little nerd-watch about the B/C ratios of Puhoi-Wellsford motorway. Which is now under construction. Genter is the Green MP who makes Ardern look like Beowulf’s dragon, which in Ardern’s non-record of parliamentary hits really is saying something.

              Mt Albert is going to be even less memorable to the public, the media, or the National Party, than Mt Roskill.

              But just as good for the Labour and Green activist bases, coming to election year.

    • james 10.2

      That was a really interesting post – thank you.

  10. Penny Bright 11

    Have Jacinda and Julie Anne been approached by senior members of Grey Power, deeply concerned about the entrenched corruption and lack of transparency in public spending on private consultants and contractors that’s been exposed in the ‘Reasons for the Verdict of Fitzgerald J’?

    I have.

    There are a LOT of conservative voters who want to know where public monies are being spent.

    So – who are they most likely to vote for?

    We shall see…..

    🙂

    Penny Bright

    2017 Independent candidate
    Mt Albert by-election.

  11. Brendon 12

    I think Julie Anne and Jacinda did well in this 20min joint interview. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2EHJypH5Dg

    They focused on the issues of the day -infrastructure, transport, childhood poverty and housing. Giving us a good look at what a Labour/Green government would look like. Both were impressive -being intelligent, articulate and caring.

    At the moment I see more opportunity than danger. But clearly as people have noted above there are risks.

  12. roy cartland 13

    I’m into this. Finally. Can someone (other than Bradbury) explain what is so wrong with a contest of ideas from parties one agrees with?? Isn’t that BETTER than a Nat vs Lab???

    Good for voters in Mt Albert, they get to vote for the better of two great choices, rather than have to “tactically” vote for the least-abominable. Trotter, Bradbury and Minto notwithstanding, this is the kind of by I wish I could vote in.

  13. millsy 14

    What’s the point of standing 2 sitting MP’s? They are already in Parliament. Why vote for someone you already have?

  14. Muttonbird 15

    This is a fantastic opportunity to show how a future Labour/Green government could work.

    Ardern and Genter should do their public engagements together as a united front, take questions, etc. I think it would work very well in the eyes of the Mt. Albert voter despite the desperate rantings of Farrar and Bradbury.

  15. Tamati Tautuhi 16

    Good opportunity for the Greens and Labour to promote a joint platform and show NZ how mature politicans and parties are going to work for the good of the country.

    We the average New Zealander want a fair and equitable society.

  16. The Real Matthew 17

    Campaigning is underway, really? I’ve seen a bit of material from Labour’s campaigning but not one iota from the Greens.

    Can someone point me in the direction of Green Party campaigning thus far?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1

      Ideally, everything they (and especially their parliamentary candidates) do is a signpost. Can you trust them? Do they have clear values? Are they open to being wrong?

      So yes, I can point you to lots and lots of Green Party campaigning. Expensive Crosby Textor focus-grouped adverts political messages lies, not so much.

  17. Wayne 18

    There are a number of independent candidates who I’m sure will represent the people of Mt Albert first rather than second to their party affiliations.

    I would love to see a law passed that would require electorate representatives to be independent of political parties and actually represent their electorate, not a party hack in a safe seat. Surely this is the next step in an MMP system?

    [Hi Wayne, we already have a Wayne commenting here regularly. To avoid confusion can you please change your username to something a bit different e.g. Wayne with another letter or number after it would be fine. Thanks – weka]

    • weka 18.1

      “I would love to see a law passed that would require electorate representatives to be independent of political parties and actually represent their electorate, not a party hack in a safe seat. Surely this is the next step in an MMP system?”

      That’s a really interesting idea. How would you see formation of government happening? Independents declaring pre-election which party they would support on confidence and supply?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 18.2

      Ban political parties altogether. Unfortunately the rights of freedom of association and assembly take precedence.

      That being so, political party affiliation performs a useful function: it reduces the level of camouflage.

      • Draco T Bastard 18.2.1

        That being so, political party affiliation performs a useful function: it reduces the level of camouflage.

        Really? So, which party should Shane Jones have been in?

        Being in a party can obfuscate people real agenda.

        That said, what a political party does is have consistent policies that reduces the number of policies that people have remember thus reducing costs of Representative Democracy to the populace in general.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 18.2.1.1

          It reduces the level of camouflage, not removes it altogether. The meaning of words is a thing, no?

          You want examples? Shane Jones is one, so are Quin (sp? can’t be bothered checking), Pagani, and Loo. Their personal agendas are far clearer against the “Labour” background they inhabit.

          • Draco T Bastard 18.2.1.1.1

            It reduces the level of camouflage, not removes it altogether. The meaning of words is a thing, no?

            But it doesn’t reduce it – that was my point.

            How long was Shane Jones in Labour before it was obvious that he really should be in National?

            Being in a party increases the camouflage.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 18.2.1.1.1.1

              You think it’s easier to compare one individual with 119 other individuals than it is to compare them with relatively well defined groups within the whole?

              Ok then.

              • Draco T Bastard

                No, that’s not what I’m saying.

                I’m saying that it’s possible for a person to hide within a group saying that he has that groups principles when he doesn’t and it’s harder to pick that out.

                With actual independent MPs they wouldn’t need to hide their principles as it won’t get them kicked out of the group.

    • Carolyn_nth 18.3

      Now, under MMP, the electorate MPs, and their vote count, are included in the overall results for the overall representation of list MPs – and that’s related to the party votes.

      I’m happy with both electorate MPs standing for parties, and List MPs from the party vote.

      The party vote determines the number of MPs from each party. The electorate MPs are included in that number. So if the party vote determines a party has 24 MPs, and that party has 6 electorate MPs, the party gets 18 list MPs. (24-6).

      Not keen on party hacks continuing in a safe seat, but it’s up to the party to move those hacks on. You can protest by not giving them your party vote.

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